Doeren Confident In Quarterback Options

Dave Doeren believes his team belongs to his senior quarterback, and he was telling the media just how important Jacoby Brissett would be to the program before he had ever started a game for NC State.

Dave Doeren believes his team belongs to his senior quarterback, and he was telling the media just how important Jacoby Brissett would be to the program before he had ever started a game for NC State.

"I told everybody last year, it's his team because he's the quarterback," said Doeren. "The quarterback's the CEO of your football team. We're going to go, any team is, you can go from Pop Warner to NFL, if you look at their quarterback play, if it's good, if he manages the team the right way, if he's tough, if he's a leader, those teams probably win some games.

"Vice versa, if you have a team that has no identity at that position, they're probably not very good. So he's helped us immensely. I was excited when I got him because I've known him since he was a freshman. He comes from a great program. Was coached by a great high school coach in Jack Daniels. He was a state championship basketball player at point guard. I knew what I was getting because I'd known him for so long. I knew what we needed."

It was why Doeren prioritized Brissett early in the process.

"I knew what we needed," he said. "I was coming from a program at Northern Illinois that had tremendous quarterback play in Jordan Lynch one year and Chandler Harnish they year before. They were both Player of the Year in our league. I knew that we were champions at Northern because I had a championship quarterback.

"So to know I was getting one that had that pedigree, once you have that you can build around it. You can have a lot of other things, but if you don't have, that it's hard to reach the goals you have as a program."

Brissett laid a strong foundation in his first year as a starter. He is the only returning player in the Power 5 conferences who posted at least 2,000 passing yards, 300 rushing yards and 20 passing touchdowns while throwing five or less interceptions last season.

Heading into Brissett's senior year, Doeren believes his mind is exactly where it needs to be.

"He had a tough academic semester, he really grinded in the classroom," said Doeren. "I think mentally he's in a great place right now. He has one class to graduate in the fall, so he's set himself up to where he can focus on a lot of what's important to him.

"You get to see it. He's in the weight room twice a day on his own. He comes in the morning and works on footwork and flexibility. You guys saw him, he looks as good as he's ever looked. He's lean... he's in a great place mentally."

Jalan McClendon

Players can lead in a variety of ways, and Brissett certainly has his own style.

"He's not a guy that says you need to be like me," Doeren said. "That's not him. He is who he is. He's consistent... the same guy everyday. He has some qwerks to him like everybody does, and no one is going to outwork him. If he needs to speak up, he'll speak up. He's not afraid to do that."

The good news for NC State fans is he sounds extremely high on redshirt freshman signal-caller Jalan McClendon.

"I think he's in a tremendous position," Doeren said of McClendon. "I tell kids all the time, they want to play right away, all of them do, if you're a three-year starter at that level, that's a lot. If you start at quarterback for three years at the ACC or SEC, you're a pretty good football player now.

"He's going to be able to do that after Jacoby is gone. If we feel like there's a moment in a game, injury in a game, we don't have to change what we do. We have another 6'6 guy that can run and throw and is tough. It's a great scenario to have on your team. It's the first time I've had it since I've been here."

"He's one play away from playing," Brissett added. "I just need to make sure he's ready to play at anytime.

"He's a great player. He's going to be great for the program and great for our team. When he gets his time, whenever that may be, I know he's going to do great things with it."

It all starts at quarterback.

Coaches who minimize the importance of the position likely don't have a proven one, and Doeren says he's sleeping good at night right now.

"I do sleep good at night from a quarterback standpoint knowing that's what we have," he stated. "Just like every year, you have different things. Last year no one asked about our kicker and punter. Now that's the unknown. Our left tackle is a new guy. That's an unknown. At least at quarterback we don't have that problem."

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